Though you may not have heard of the Bailey’s Woman’s Prize for Fiction before, it’s only because it’s wearing a new hat. Between 1995 and 2012 it was known as the Orange Prize, for the British telecom that sponsored it all those years. And though the prize has been riddled with controversy over the years (Man Booker Prize winner A.S. Byatt was not the only one to call the award “sexist”) it has successfully helped increase the profile of an ever-larger number of women writers.
The finalists for the 2014 prize were announced this morning. And with Bailey’s now in the key sponsorship position, the Women’s Fiction Prize should be able to go forward for many years. (And, yes: we are talking that Bailey’s: “The world’s first cream liqueur, a unique blend of smooth Irish cream with quality spirits and whiskey … the world’s biggest seller, with over 82 million bottles sold world wide each year” and so on.)
At the time of the announcement of their support for the Prize last summer, the company said that “BAILEYS wants to inspire and enrich the lives of women, bringing the power of spirited stories and storytellers to ever-wider audiences.”
And so here we are.
The winner of this year’s Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 4th. She will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as the Bessie, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.
Previous winners include A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013), Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012), Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (2010), Marilynne Robinson for Home (2009), Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry’s Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).
The judges for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction are: Helen Fraser, (Chair), Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust; Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge; Denise Mina, Writer; Caitlin Moran, Times columnist, Author and Screenwriter; Sophie Raworth, BBC Broadcaster and Journalist.
Finalists for the 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize:
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian, 3rd Novel) Americanah (Fourth Estate)
- Margaret Atwood (Canadian, 14th Novel) Maddaddam (Bloomsbury)
- Suzanne Berne (American, 4th Novel) The Dogs of Littlefield (Fig Tree)
- Fatima Bhutto (Pakistani, 1st Novel) The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (Viking)
- Claire Cameron (Canadian, 2nd Novel) The Bear (Harvill Secker)
- Lea Carpenter (American, 1st Novel) Eleven Days (Two Roads)
- M.J. Carter (British, 1st Novel) The Strangler Vine (Fig Tree)
- Eleanor Catton (New Zealand/Canadian, 2nd Novel) The Luminaries (Granta)
- Deborah Kay Davies (British, 2nd Novel) Reasons She Goes to the Woods (Oneworld)
- Elizabeth Gilbert (American, 2nd Novel) The Signature of All Things (Bloomsbury)
- Hannah Kent (Australian, 1st Novel) Burial Rites (Picador)
- Rachel Kushner (American, 2nd Novel) The Flamethrowers (Harvill Secker)
- Jhumpa Lahiri (Indian/American, 2nd Novel) The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
- Audrey Magee (Irish, 1st Novel) The Undertaking (Atlantic Books)
- Eimear McBride (Irish, 1st Novel) A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Gallery Beggar Press)
- Charlotte Mendelson (British, 4th Novel) Almost English (Mantle)
- Anna Quindlen (American, 7th Novel) Still Life With Bread Crumbs (Hutchinson)
- Elizabeth Strout (American, 4th Novel) The Burgess Boys (Simon and Schuster)
- Donna Tartt (American, 3rd Novel) The Goldfinch (Little, Brown)
- Evie Wyld (British, 2nd Novel) All the Birds, Singing (Jonathan Cape)